Lithuania advanced to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament semifinal with a 76-72 (16-22, 24-16, 17-17, 19-17) victory over Puerto Rico in Caracas on Friday night.
With 36 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Daniel Santiago hit one free-throw to give Puerto Rico a one-point lead, but Sarunas Jasikevicius used a screen by Darius Songaila to answer with a basket at the other end.
“We wanted to answer with a quick basket, so we’d have time for two possessions. Sarunas played were very well, making the layup and then we got the stop at the other end,” said Rimantas Kaukenas after the win.
Mantas Kalnietis and Linas Kleiza led the team in scoring with 14 points each, Sarunas Jasikevicius had 11, Jonas Maciulis finished the game with 10 points and 11 rebounds as Martynas Pocius added nine points.
“We still haven’t achieved anything. The next game is going to be the most important one. We’ll need some rest and then go after the Dominican Republic,” said Rimantas Kaukenas after the win.
For Puerto Rico, Alex Galindo hit 4-of-6 from downtown to collect 17 points, Jose Juan Barea scored 13, while Carlos Arroyo chipped in with 14 points and eight assists.
Lithuania will now face the Dominican Republic in the semifinal. The team from the Americas defeated Macedonia in the quarterfinal.